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Award Opens International Doors for Kiwi Designer

Thursday, 28 February, 2008

Press release

National Award Opens International Doors for Kiwi Product Designer

Stephen Smith, named New Zealand’s top emerging product designer in the annual Dyson Product Design Awards, is leaving the country to take up a job at Dyson’s world leading design headquarters.

The 24 year old this month commences a five year contract as a Graduate Design Engineer at the Dyson’s state-of-the-art Research and Design Centre in Malmesbury, United Kingdom.

It is the first time in the annual award’s eight year history, an award winner has been offered employment at Dyson, the company which invented the first vacuum cleaner which does not clog or lose suction.

The Massey University industrial design graduate took the top prize at the 2007 ceremony for his design, Arctic Skin, a cooling vest designed to be worn by athletes.

The vest stabilizes a sportsperson’s body temperature via a cooling process, which enables them to maintain an optimal physical performance
for longer periods while competing.

From Greenhithe, Auckland, Smith says in Malmesbury he will join a team of designers described as the Blue Sky Team.

“I understand the job will be highly creative, where we will not be limited in our ideas, and where we’re tasked with coming up with concepts for the very first stage of product development.

“In my world, and in the product design world, Dyson is on a pedestal and so I feel both nervous and excited. It will be a new experience for me because they take innovation to another level. They are expecting a higher level of design from me. But most of all I’m feeling excited because it’s a challenge,” said Smith.

Since 1993, the technology company has sold over 17 million vacuums worldwide and has overtaken competitors to be the number one selling vacuum brand in the world. The company’s lifeblood is their investment in research and design (RDD), and in 2006 alone, Dyson invested NZD$170 million in Research and Development. A third of Dyson employees are engineers and scientists, employed in RDD.

Says James Dyson, engineer and inventor of the Dyson vacuum cleaner: “Design surrounds us. It inspires us. It makes more things possible. As our need for good design and technology increases so does the need for innovative and adventurous designers, engineers and scientists.

“If you think you have a way of making something better, don’t be afraid to be different, and don’t give up if people reject your ideas, trust your
instincts. We want to encourage future generations of design engineers.”

ENDS

* An inventor’s patent only lasts 20 years. To stay ahead, Dyson files one patent every day.
* Dyson engineers have built over 20,000 prototypes in the course of research and development.
* Dirt in a Dyson inner cyclone is subject to 150,000 G Forces – 43,000 times those experienced by a Formula One racing driver!
* Dyson strives to develop new and better technology. In 2006 alone, Dyson invested NZD$170 million in Research and Development.
* Dyson has its own on-site zoo, breeding dust mites. Dyson is one of very few companies with its own microbiology in-house lab and dedicated scientists.
* Rigorous testing is fundamental to Dyson; 750 engineers (over one third of Dyson’s work force) dedicate up to 30,000 hours to testing each month. They use 150 mechanical test rigs to replicate and exaggerate the use of vacuum cleaners in the home.
* The air emitted from a Dyson has up to 150 times less bacteria and mould than air you breathe
* Dyson vacuum cleaners are available in 44 countries.
* The James Dyson Foundation is committed to encouraging more young people to fulfil their design engineering potential. The Foundation organises lectures and workshops in the UK and internationally, to de-mystify the design process, reverse the negative image of engineering and encourage young people to use a hands-on approach to problem solving. The JDF education programme is coupled with the production of free and useful educational resources for design and technology classes.
* The James Dyson Foundation runs design awards in 15 countries, including New Zealand.

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